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Becoming Insects: Imamura Shōhei And The Entomology Of Modernity

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Chapter Summary

Tome's life-story stands as a metonymy for the transformations in Japanese character and sociability from the interwar years until the second decade of post-war recovery and growth. The Insect Woman unflinchingly traces the correlation between the transformation in the psychological processes of the Japanese and the history of Japanese encounters with modernity. The Insect Woman opens Japan to the existence of multiple pasts, presents and possible futures that are incompatible and outside the narratives of official history that form the conditions of shared memory. The scepticism concerning modernization as the elixir of all our ailments is interrelated with another theme, namely, the limitations of 'progress'. The history of post-war recovery as experienced by Tome is not about the advancements made by democratization and the genesis of a new, mature Japanese species being that has overcome all militaristic tendencies, but about how to make the best of given circumstances.

Keywords: genesis; Insect Woman; Japanese; official history; scepticism



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